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If so, will it affect how retailers price items? Will they round up?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Not true. There is, however, an ongoing debate about it. Are they worth the time/money to mint. How much to retailers "spend" on tracking, counting, sorting, etc.

The last highly publicised event in Canada was a private members bill from 2008.

Other countries that have eliminated their equivalent have indeed followed the rounding methodology; reference Sweden.

So for example if we were to eliminate the penny and keep the nickel. All purchases would be added up using their penny price. Then if the total ended in 1,2,6,7 it is rounded down, and the rest up (or left as zero and five).


2012-03-29 Breaking News:

The Canadian federal budget released today is indeed phasing out the penny. "The Royal Canadian Mint will no longer distribute pennies as of Fall 2012." They will, however, remain legal tender indefinitely, and redeemable at any bank. Non-cash transactions like debit and credit will retain cent denominations, but cash remainder values of 0.01 or 0.02 will round down, while 0.03 and 0.04 will round up.

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Is there anything to stop retailers from simply rounding up to the nearest nickel? I'm sure the laws are different in Canada vs. the US. –  Stefan Lasiewski Jun 8 '10 at 18:50
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If a retailer was found to always round up then the bad publicity would ruin their business. Some companies would probably always round down and then make a big play of this in their adverts. –  Ian Nov 22 '10 at 16:12
    
Additional news link: cbc.ca/news/story/2012/03/29/… –  Chris W. Rea Mar 30 '12 at 13:15

I can not vouch for Canada (the first part of the question) but Australia phased out 1 and 2 cent pieces a long time ago. This had two two benefits: the cost of the coins was greater than the value of the coin, thus the Government saved money. Secondly, due to some weird accounting, the Government actually made a proit for a few hundred million dollars by phasing out the coins.

As for the second part of the question, prices are still displayed to the cent (say, $6.99) but they get rounded to the closest 5c of the total price when you pay cash. If you pay on credit, you are charged to the cent.

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It would make sense for pennies to be phased out in Canada (and the U.S). Because the value of the coin is less than the metal in it.

Shopkeepers would "round up." But pennies are worth relatively little these days. The term from my boyhood, "A penny for your thoughts" would be worth at least a (US) "nickel" today.

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The Consumerist has a decent write up with some details.

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. –  Canadian Luke Mar 21 at 16:36

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